Substrate Questions (Pine wood poisoning?)

hyj1752

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Joined
Sep 17, 2020
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23
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Seoul
Hello everyone! My tortoise (tortellini, age 6-9 months (my guess!), weight 79g, scl 7cm) is living in a vivarium at the moment. I thought this was best because he's really young and I got him when he was a hatchling 4 months ago - it's super dry where I am in the winter and I can't dedicate an entire humid room for him yet, so this is my solution.

I have been using a mix of coco husk and bark chips for his substrate for about a month now. I also tried organic peat moss and sand for two days but got paranoid that it would go into his eye because he loves to climb things and he falls over on his face sometimes. I tried coco coir, but it got stuck in his mouth once so I replaced that. I have been using orchid bark that I was told was pure fir bark by the guys who work at the wood workshop nearby, but I was told today that they're actually not sure and that they outsource from Europe. They said it's a safe, organic mixture of woodland pieces but you can imagine my anger!! It smells just like reptibark's fir bark so I didn't really question that it might be something else until I was told. I have since switched it out.

My questions are:

1) What is a good substrate for a vivarium?
2) What are the effects of using pine wood/cedar wood for tortoises? (I am not saying that the bark chips I've been using are that, but I couldn't find any information/credible sources citing what it does to tortoises). I am scared that I may have exposed him to pine/cedar and would like to prepare for what may come and catch him early.

He does not show any symptoms of illness, he seems his energetic self. But paranoia as a new tort owner runs deep :(

Thank you for any help!!
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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This exact bag is from Home Depot.
It's only a few bucks per bag and its pure.
Get the potting media.
Not the one called potting MIX.
It contains other unneeded and possibly harmful things.
Also, get rid of the sand.
That fell out of favor in about 1982. It causes sand impaction. It's hard to expell if it gets eaten.
Crap. You're from Korea?
I hope you can find something suitable.
 

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Tom

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Hello everyone! My tortoise (tortellini, age 6-9 months (my guess!), weight 79g, scl 7cm) is living in a vivarium at the moment. I thought this was best because he's really young and I got him when he was a hatchling 4 months ago - it's super dry where I am in the winter and I can't dedicate an entire humid room for him yet, so this is my solution.

I have been using a mix of coco husk and bark chips for his substrate for about a month now. I also tried organic peat moss and sand for two days but got paranoid that it would go into his eye because he loves to climb things and he falls over on his face sometimes. I tried coco coir, but it got stuck in his mouth once so I replaced that. I have been using orchid bark that I was told was pure fir bark by the guys who work at the wood workshop nearby, but I was told today that they're actually not sure and that they outsource from Europe. They said it's a safe, organic mixture of woodland pieces but you can imagine my anger!! It smells just like reptibark's fir bark so I didn't really question that it might be something else until I was told. I have since switched it out.

My questions are:

1) What is a good substrate for a vivarium?
2) What are the effects of using pine wood/cedar wood for tortoises? (I am not saying that the bark chips I've been using are that, but I couldn't find any information/credible sources citing what it does to tortoises). I am scared that I may have exposed him to pine/cedar and would like to prepare for what may come and catch him early.

He does not show any symptoms of illness, he seems his energetic self. But paranoia as a new tort owner runs deep :(

Thank you for any help!!
1. Best substrate for small Testudo is coco coir. Use a thick layer and hand pack it down firmly. Always keep it damp. When they get bigger, I switch to orchid bark. This is true for any enclosure, not just vivariums.
2. Pine and cedar emit toxic fumes and shouldn't be used. Symptoms of a problem could include lethargy, lack of appetite, eye issues, and possibly nasal discharge. Death is possible on cedar in a closed chamber.

Give this a read for the current and correct care info:
 

hyj1752

New Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Seoul
Do you think a month of this substrate could make him really sick? No symptoms right now but lowkey panicking right now!

1. Best substrate for small Testudo is coco coir. Use a thick layer and hand pack it down firmly. Always keep it damp. When they get bigger, I switch to orchid bark. This is true for any enclosure, not just vivariums.
2. Pine and cedar emit toxic fumes and shouldn't be used. Symptoms of a problem could include lethargy, lack of appetite, eye issues, and possibly nasal discharge. Death is possible on cedar in a closed chamber.

Give this a read for the current and correct care info:
 

hyj1752

New Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Seoul
Hey guys update: I got the wood checked and it’s a mixture of spruce and fir. Thank god! I will continue to educate myself but thank you!!

Hello everyone! My tortoise (tortellini, age 6-9 months (my guess!), weight 79g, scl 7cm) is living in a vivarium at the moment. I thought this was best because he's really young and I got him when he was a hatchling 4 months ago - it's super dry where I am in the winter and I can't dedicate an entire humid room for him yet, so this is my solution.

I have been using a mix of coco husk and bark chips for his substrate for about a month now. I also tried organic peat moss and sand for two days but got paranoid that it would go into his eye because he loves to climb things and he falls over on his face sometimes. I tried coco coir, but it got stuck in his mouth once so I replaced that. I have been using orchid bark that I was told was pure fir bark by the guys who work at the wood workshop nearby, but I was told today that they're actually not sure and that they outsource from Europe. They said it's a safe, organic mixture of woodland pieces but you can imagine my anger!! It smells just like reptibark's fir bark so I didn't really question that it might be something else until I was told. I have since switched it out.

My questions are:

1) What is a good substrate for a vivarium?
2) What are the effects of using pine wood/cedar wood for tortoises? (I am not saying that the bark chips I've been using are that, but I couldn't find any information/credible sources citing what it does to tortoises). I am scared that I may have exposed him to pine/cedar and would like to prepare for what may come and catch him early.

He does not show any symptoms of illness, he seems his energetic self. But paranoia as a new tort owner runs deep :(

Thank you for any help!!
 

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